Makenzie Bailey wants to end bullying.
The Shasta School eighth grader — who was tormented by bullies when she attended Lincoln School — wants others to not suffer the same fate.
That’s why she used it as the cornerstone of her speech Friday morning speaking before Shasta schoolmates in her bid to gain election as student body president. Her platform is simple: No more bullying.
Makenzie said too often school bullying is swept under the rug. Besides her personal experience of being bullied, she has also observed classmates suffering at the hands of class bullies making it their “game of choice.” Makenzie noted online bullies appear thoughtless, not giving their rudeness a second thought to who it is hurting and whether it will be in another student’s memory for a lifetime.
There are two way students can make a difference – one for good and another to take down a peer relentlessly often leaving them shattered. It’s not just boys who enjoy the practice, but just as often girls, who can tell stories out of class that aren’t true. In the worst case scenarios the constant bullying has led to suicides.
All the student election candidates Friday had to bury their fears of speaking before their peers to get their messages across to the other junior high level students sitting on the bleachers. They went to the lectern and did an above average presentation, hiding their jittery cases of nerves and at best keeping them flying in formation. Makenzie spoke more slowly than most, hoping to get her word out and be clearly understood. She felt she had an important message that involves all students in today’s world and she realized most feel powerless to make it all stop when pushed verbally into a corner, feeling they have egg on their faces at best.
“I am running for office because I want to make a difference in our school,” she said. “I want to stop the bullying.” Bullying has been a way of life for years for many preteens and teens.
One Manteca professional I talked with this week said she was bullied at her Bay Area elementary school many decades ago – noting bullying is nothing new, unfortunately.
Makenzie told fellow students Friday that one idea she has is to ask that everyone interact with a boy or girl they have never met – even with a simple “hi” or going above and beyond to give a compliment.
She said she hopes to have the morning announcements involve a quote or encouraging words to inspire kindness towards each other. Makenzie said she wants to be part of a school that stands at the forefront of a new era where bullying is a thing of the past with other schools wanting to follow Shasta School’s example.
Whether she wins or loses she promises to leave her mark on the world and become the orchestra musician who will travel the world and make a difference in her own way. Makenzie presents a very mature picture of a teenager who already plans to attend Stanford.
She encouraged her peers sitting in the bleachers to realize how awesome they are when they get up in the morning. “Just being true to yourselves will make you incredible friends, students and human beings.”
The eighth grader noted that the school will undoubtedly lead the quest to stop the bullying. “Vote for me and help me to end the physical, verbal and cyber bullying that too often happens to kids – not just at our school but at schools all across the country.”
She plays four different instruments, a Bass and Alta Clarinet and an Alta Saxophone and a Tenor Sax. Makenzie said she receives constant encouragement from her dad Michael.
Much of her positive character she brings from a fourth grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School who constantly encouraged her and mentored her when she saw the need.
“She motivated me a lot and I would always go to her when I needed to talk to someone. She will undoubtedly be a lifelong friend,” Makenzie said.
She ended her speech by encouraging the Shasta upper grade students to work together to make their school and others to become safer and more comfortable places to learn and become the best people they can possibly be in life.
She has already gone to a second grade classroom at Shasta and talked to those children about their experiences with bullying. Many of them had already been bullied to some degree at that young age, she noted, and have gone to her on the campus with questions.
To contact Glenn Kahl email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3539.